Nike’s New Campaign Has A Powerful Message For Women In The Middle East
The video was filmed in Dubai and features five incredibly inspiring Middle Eastern women.
Remember how Nike released two awesome videos featuring Emirati parkour trainer Amal Murad, and figure skater Zahra Lari?
Well, the sporting giant has just launched the full campaign – and it makes a powerful statement about women in the Middle East.
Narrated by Saudi Arabian actress Fatima Al-Banawi, the new video, which was shot in and around Dubai, stars five remarkable athletes from the region (including Murad and Lari), and centres around the question, “what will they say about you?”
As Murad explained: “This phrase, it’s every little girl’s nightmare growing up. We hear this every time we do something that might be met with criticism. There’s a fear to stand out and do something that’s not part of the norm.
“But I’ve learned that, if you genuinely want to do something amazing, you can’t be afraid of hearing this phrase.”
Nike spokeswoman Hind Rasheed said the brand had been “incredibly inspired” by the pioneering spirit that exists in the Middle East.
“In the region, it’s possible to the ‘the first’ or ‘the only’ to try a sport or to achieve global success. These stories are an inspiration to us, and we wanted to share them with others, hoping they’ll inspire more women to overcome doubt and seek empowerment through sport.”
Here’s what the athletes had to say…
After driving her to her first figure skating lesson, Lari’s father was hesitant to allow her to start competing seriously. Now, the Abu Dhabi-based 21-year-old is training to become the first Emirati figure skater to compete in the Winter Olympics.
“I’ve had a lot of criticism throughout my journey, but I’ve never let that stop me or bring me down,” she said. “People should know that Emirati athletes are strong. We’re confident women who know what we want to do, and we work very hard to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.”
Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso admits she wasn’t interested in sport until her early 20s. “I didn’t have an athletic role model to inspire me growing up,” she said.
Bseiso hopes her story will encourage others to find a sport they’re passionate about. “I want to inspire people to remove the labels they put on themselves. ‘I am not flexible’, ‘I am not strong’, ‘I don’t have the conditioning’. Don’t let this stop you. My message is find your boxing, and let it change you – allow it to transform you for the better.”
Emirati pop singer Balquees Fathi said she faced many doubts from her family at the start of her career. Someday, she hopes people will say she became an icon.
“When my parents were worried about how I would be perceived as a singer, I told them ‘Be patient and watch – I might just actually change what other people say’.”
Growing up in an athletic family in Tunisia, Boubakri began fencing at the age of four. Despite the support of her family, critics didn’t understand her commitment to the lesser understood sport – but she now has three gold medals to her name.
“I hope they’ll say that, despite the odds, I triumphed. From the podium in Rio, I dedicated my medals to all Arab women, and I hope my success can inspire others to surround themselves with positive people who push you to reach your goals and go for it.”
Amal Murad’s parents didn’t understand her passion for parkour until they saw the positive response to her sport on social media. These days, her family is proud that people see the young Emirati as a light for others.
“At first, you may have to prove to your family that you’re capable by believing in yourself,” she said. “Not in the sense that you must go against them, just start with small steps – take classes in an all-female gym. There’s so much joy and freedom that fitness can bring to everyone’s life.”
Images and video: Supplied